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Let the Iraqi people vote on U.S. remaining in their country

Letters to the Editor
Published October 3, 2006

Bob Woodward's disclosures, coming on the heels of the recent report of the National Intelligence Estimate, definitively show that the time has come to change course in Iraq. I do not mean "cutting and running." I mean getting us out of the morass we are in while empowering the Iraqis, the people we are supposedly seeking to benefit by our occupation.

Let the Iraqis decide. Have a referendum wherein they can vote as to if and when the United States should leave. There is certainly evidence that they want us out, as indicated by the results of a poll published last month. According to polling done by the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes, 71 percent of Iraqis want their government to ask U.S. troops to leave within a year and almost 4 in 5 say the U.S. military force in Iraq provokes more violence than it prevents. A separate poll done by the State Department was consistent with such sentiments, finding that two-thirds of Iraqis in Baghdad favor an immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces.

The choice given would not have to be as simple as stay or leave: A number of options could be given: one year? two years? five? or as long as felt necessary by the Iraqi government? The details of the referendum could be worked out once it is decided to have one, and if they indeed want us out sooner rather than later, we should leave.

Such a vote would be consistent with the president's oft-repeated statement that he wants to bring democracy to Iraq - so why not listen to the Iraqi vox populi? After all, it is their country.

John Napora, Tampa

U.S. voters will have to decide

How many times has everyone heard the question posed: "When will our soldiers be brought out of Iraq?" There is only one answer: The soldiers will be brought out of Iraq only when the American voters (with validation of the Electoral College) elect a president who has pledged to do so!

Tim Harman, Tampa


Abandon the partisan politics

It's about time I started to see some common sense in our political views on Iraq and our country in general being expressed in your editorials and letters from the public. If our political leaders were more interested in what is good for our country, rather than what is good for their political parties, then we would not be in this mess.

We are already in Iraq. That's a fact, whether we wanted to be there or not. The war has been mismanaged, and staying the course is not going to get it done. The Republicans need to come up with some solutions to solve the crisis. The Democrats need to come up with their own ideas for solving this mess. "Gotcha," "I told you so" and "Let's pull the troops out and stick our heads in the sand" are even dumber than "Stay the course." We need to put our collective heads together as Americans and solve this mess and other problems.

The real problem with politics is that the good leaders can't get elected. They cannot get past the primaries of either party, which are currently controlled by the wackos of the left and right.

Tom Hunter, Largo


A plan to stay and die

Recently the president has been calling Democrats the party of "cut and run" in reference to the Iraqi situation. It becomes obvious that he wants us to "stay and die." But then, no one close to him or his neocons will be among those who die.

Neil A. Hilmer, Hudson


A serious solution

Re: War without end, editorial, Sept. 29.

The solution no one will face: a draft. A new mobilization of the nation's men and women, its intellectual capacity and its wealth would announce to the world in no uncertain terms that we are serious and tired of waiting for the end. But then, no one except the exhausted men and women in Donald Rumsfeld's service is serious.

Harold Seckinger, Homosassa


Candidly face the ugly reality

President Bush has been on the offense in domestic politics via references to "cut and run" Democrats being soft on terrorism, and pundits are pointing out how they are without a solution.

It seems to me that, other than continuing to point out that the war in Iraq is not about the war on terror, Democrats cannot have a great plan for Iraq for one fundamental reason: The situation in Iraq is a debacle and there simply will be no "pretty" solution. No decisive victory. No glorious ending.

Our withdrawal from Iraq is going to be awkward and messy (not too unlike Vietnam in '75) and if anyone - Democrat or otherwise - is going to show leadership it should include having the courage to tell this to the American people and then sketch out a withdrawal plan. Americans like someone with the guts to look them in the eye and tell it like it is, even if unpleasant. It would help if someone in power took this to heart.

Dan Chesnut, St. Petersburg


Votes for the new tyranny

Re: Senate okays detainee measure, Page 8A, Sept. 29.

Everyone in both the House and the Senate who voted for this bill has violated his or her oath of office to defend the Constitution. The bill denies the right of habeas corpus, a fundamental cornerstone of our civilization dating from the year 1215. It's gone now. Welcome to the new tyranny.

The Times has done a dreadfully poor job of covering the story of the destruction of the Constitution by this Congress. One would have thought that such a story was worthy of a spot on the front page.

John Brockman, Dunedin


Putting a match to the Constitution

Where are the good and true people who know right from wrong apart from politics? How did this country ever come to a point where it actually debates the benefits of torture, and gives the president, a single human being, the right to determine what is torture? There was a time, it seemed to me, when we were all fairly clear on that. Why else did we sign the Geneva Conventions?

When did we reach a point where we would deny any human being the right to a fair and open trial? And now we would deny it to our own citizens if someone points a finger and says "terrorist."

There was a time when America stood for something good in the world, a time when our ideals were our guiding light. Sure, politicians always made mistakes, but by and large there were places in our souls that we would never compromise. Now our entire government, not just Republicans, is throwing a shroud over the Statue of Liberty and taking a match to the Constitution.

Sue Brown, Wesley Chapel


Seek the leak

Where is the media outcry over the leaked intelligence document?

There is an outcry - over what it contains. But there is absolutely no outcry about finding the perpetrator who leaked this document. When a covert CIA agent was outed, the media had to know who did this dastardly thing. I believe it is a felony to leak classified materials. Why doesn't the mainstream media go after this person?

Ken Miller, Pinellas Park

[Last modified October 3, 2006, 11:16:14]

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